The Song of Callicles

Matthew Arnold.

THROUGH the black, rushing smoke-bursts,

Thick breaks the red flame.

All Etna heaves fiercely

Her forest-clothed frame.


Not here, O Apollo!

Are haunts meet for thee.

But, where Helicon breaks down

In cliff to the sea.


Where the moon-silver’d inlets

Send far their light voice

Up the still vale of Thisbe,

O speed, and rejoice!


On the sward at the cliff-top,

Lie strewn the white flocks;

On the cliff-side, the pigeons

Roost deep in the rocks.


In the moonlight the shepherds,

Soft lull’d by the rills,

Lie wrapt in their blankets,

Asleep on the hills.


—What forms are these coming

So white through the gloom?

What garments out-glistening

The gold-flower’d broom?


What sweet-breathing Presence

Out-perfumes the thyme?

What voices enrapture

The night’s balmy prime?—


‘Tis Apollo comes leading

His choir, The Nine.

—The Leader is fairest,

But all are divine.


They are lost in the hollows.

They stream up again.

What seeks on this mountain

The glorified train?—


They bathe on this mountain,

In the spring by their road.

Then on to Olympus,

Their endless abode.


—Whose praise do they mention:

Of what is it told?—

What will be for ever.

What was from of old.


First hymn they the Father

Of all things: and then,

The rest of Immortals,

The action of men.


The Day in his hotness,

The strife with the palm;

The Night in her silence,

The Stars in their calm.

literature, poetry

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